Chana Masala with Spinach

I add spinach to this simple version of the traditional Indian chana masala. I love how the green leaves contrast with the bright, spiced tomato sauce.

Chana Masala with Spinach

So I guess it’s chickpea week! No, it’s not #nationalchickpeaweek (that hashtag doesn’t even exist) but this week on my blog chickpeas are making an appearance two posts in a row. Check out Monday’s Broccolini Chickpea Pizzas if you haven’t yet – it’s a tasty one.

I don’t know if I’ve said it before but I LOVE chickpeas. They’re such a healthy, versatile plant-based protein and they’re so easy to keep on hand in my pantry. Actually, aside from the fresh spinach, this entire recipe is pretty pantry friendly.

Chana Masala with Spinach

As always, when I post an Indian-inspired dish, I want to give you the disclaimer that this might not be the most authentic version (remember Aloo Gobi-ish?). I love chana masala when I go to Indian restaurants and I think this at-home version tastes really good without using hard-to-find ingredients.

You likely have many of these spices on hand, although for this recipe, I recommend that you check and make sure your spices are pretty fresh. Dried spices don’t really go bad, but they do lose their potency over time, so if your spice drawer items are over a year old, you might think about refreshing them.

(Note that I’ve shown cardamom powder in the spice photo above, but this recipe is actuallly best with whole cardamom pods).

Chana Masala with Spinach

Chana Masala isn’t supposed to have spinach but, hey, I like to pack in green vegetables whenever I can.

Serve this with steamed basmati rice and/or naan.

Chana Masala with Spinach

4.8 from 5 reviews
Chana Masala with Spinach
 
A simplified version of traditional Indian chana masala, this healthy dish comes together in just 30 minutes. I add fresh spinach for extra nutrients and a pop of green.
Author:
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 cardamom pods, minced (discard the outer shells)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 to 8 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 tablespoon lime juice, more to taste
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and generous pinches of salt and pepper and cook until browned and very soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cumin seed halfway through.
  2. Add the coriander, turmeric, cardamom, garlic, garam masala, ginger and cayenne pepper, if using, and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add ¼ cup of water and scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and another few pinches of salt. Stir and bring to a low simmer so that it’s bubbling just a bit. Cook on medium heat to thicken, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas, ¼ cup more water, and another pinch of salt, and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and it’s a thick stew, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spinach until wilted. Remove from the heat.
  5. Add the lemon/lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon or lime if desired. Add the fresh cilantro just before serving. Serve with steamed rice and naan, if desired.

 

21 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Marion
    09.28.2016

    Looks so tasty and easy. Can’t wait to make it this weekend. I have too many leftovers to finish first.

  2. Natalie from workovereasy.com
    09.28.2016

    This looks so good. I was looking for something new and warming for dinner next week – this is definitely on the short list -thank you!

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

  3. dana from minimalistbaker.com
    09.28.2016

    This is beautiful Jeanine! xoxo

  4. This looks like such a simple/satisfying/comforting/quick meal- perfect for fall weeknights!

  5. Looking forward to trying this! I’ve made a recipe similar to this and loved it. It had coconut milk which was awesome, but this recipe is perfect for a lite meal in comparison.

  6. TheGold.Asia
    09.29.2016

    This weekend I will try your recipe! 😀

  7. Luisa
    09.30.2016

    Hi! I really want to try this recipe and want to get the flavours right. However, I only have ground ginger, cumin and cardamom. Can you tell me how much would you use of each? Thanks**

  8. Beth
    09.30.2016

    This looks delightful, and so inviting! Perfect for the start of Fall. Can’t wait to try this, hopefully tonight! 🙂

  9. Lynn from theactorsdiet.com
    10.01.2016

    I love chickpeas so much I wouldn’t mind there being a whole week devoted to them!

  10. Beth
    10.04.2016

    I just had to come back and tell you how amazing this was! Made it for dinner last night, and it could not have been better. The spices are spot on, and it was perfect on our rainy evening. I’ll be making this over and over. Thank you! 😊

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.04.2016

      Yay, thank you for coming back to tell me! I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  11. Kathy
    10.06.2016

    I am new to your blog. I made this and shared it with a friend, and we both loved it! Thank you for the delicious, healthy recipe! I am now a devoted reader of Love and Lemons!

  12. Denise
    11.06.2016

    This was wonderful! Thank you so much for this recipe! Love the chick peas. I added chicken & cooked it in the crock pot — marvelous!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.06.2016

      I’m so glad! And thanks for letting me know that it worked in the crock pot!!

  13. Mike
    06.20.2017

    I’ll be giving this one a try as I had chana masala at my local restaurant last night, and it was amazing.

    Amusingly, I discovered your blog thanks to the extra ingredient my restaurant added – chopped preserved lemons!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.20.2017

      🙂 Chopped preserved lemons sound like a delicious addition!

  14. Freda Marie
    06.29.2018

    This is SO good! Added a bit !pre water than indicated…probably another 1/4 cup, otherwise made it exactly as written…SO GOOD!!!
    THANK YOU!!!!
    Comfort food with some nann!

  15. fnaf from fivenightsat-freddys.com
    07.10.2018

    Delicious! Really quick and easy to make. Looking forward to making it again!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.